YOUNGSTOWN PLAYHOUSE ‘Good People’ makes for good play

By Eric McCrea

Pride is a tough thing to swallow, but living with it can be even tougher. The Youngstown Playhouse takes a look at the cumulative good and bad in all of us with their latest production.

“Good People” by David Lindsay-Abaire is a gritty look at the working poor, and the difficult truth of the decisions that shaped their lives.

Stephanie Cambro leads as Margaret, a South Boston mother, struggling to make rent. After being let go by her boss, Stevie (Connor Bezeredi), Margie is desperate to find work. Her landlord Dottie, played by Pat Foltz, goes out of her way to help, but won’t tolerate squatters. When best friend Jean (Cyndi Plyler) mentions that she ran into an old Southie friend, Margie decides to drop in on him to inquire about a job. Unfortunately, Mike, portrayed by John Cox, isn’t able to help, and the trip down memory lane gets a bit sticky. Mike’s wife, Kate (Shba Cochrane), vows to help, but the past becomes a roadblock.

Under the fine direction of Matthew Mazuroski, this strong cast was able to show vulnerability and ferocity with emotional honesty and natural intuition. Throughout the show the audience is constantly asking if these are good people.

Cambro bares a soul that is weathered and kind, fighting like a protective mother, unrelenting. She is impressive from the start. Her energy fills the room and encapsulates the audience. She forces you on this journey, whether you’re prepared or not.

Plyler has a great presence as the faithful best friend, who knew the truth all along. Her chemistry with everyone is palpable.

Foltz is a delight as landlord and gal-pal craft goddess Dottie. She shines every second she’s on stage.

Cox is a heavyweight in this role, a perfect fit as the tough guy turned good.

Bezeredi has shown to be dependably on point in his Playhouse debut; however, Cochrane’s return is a bit rusty but bursting with potential.

The show incorporated background sound designed by Johnny Pecano that worked well and was a great enhancement to the show.

The scene changes were somewhat laborious in the tight space, and pulled some of the tension from the air.

The level of talent nourishing this show makes it highly recommended.

“Good People” runs Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. until May 4. For reservations, call 330-788-8739.

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